Sailing into Eternity

“What is all this love for if we have to walk into the dark?” (M.R. James)

This is no country for old women
Scavenging among the shops of younger
Birds feathered-fit for triumphalist high-fives
Impatient of scarecrow’s creaking shoes, masked
Grimace reaching for a tin on a grocer’s shelf.

Pain exacts through sickness and age
Its own price, even as we gingerly kneel
To find the lisolia of those now lost to sight,
Praying hands held aloft, clasping light
In the aftergloom of laughter’s ghosts.

In the heartmoor of these days and nights
Visions appear, and I press forward into the dark
Of words that like crumbs from the children’s table
Fall upon me, as manna, as showers, as stories
Of love that even scarecrows can laugh to tell.


Linda at dVerse asks us to choose one or more words from a list of neologisms to write a poem. Click on Mr. Linky and join in! I've chosen "heartmoor," "aftergloom" and "lisolia," definitions of which are given in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:
Aftergloom: the pang of loneliness you feel the day after an intensely social event, as the glow of voices and laughter fades into a somber quiet.
Heartmoor: the primal longing for a home village to return to, a place that no longer exists, if it ever did.
Lisolia: the satisfaction of things worn down by time, broken in baseball mitts, the shiny snout of a lucky bronze pig, or footprints ground deep into floorboards by generations of kneeling monks.

30 thoughts on “Sailing into Eternity

  1. Wonderful…but that first stanza..shocking, amazing…what description, and how true …impatient if scarecrow’s creaking shoes…what imagery..a poem that absolutely gets the feeling to the reader, the message.

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  2. I’m in love with the imagery here, Dora, you never fail to weave such a tale that leaves your reader wanting more. I feel adrift when reading this, as in the beginning, it felt as if the narrator didn’t quite find their peace or place at this point in time or life, and at the end, there’s something to look to in the future, hope perhaps. Such a beautifully written poem, always amazed by you. 🙂

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  3. sanaarizvi

    “I press forward into the dark of words that like crumbs from the children’s table,”.. this is such an amazingly powerful write, Dora!

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  4. Lovely poem, Dora, I like they way you interweave the prompt words.
    This is no country for old women
    Scavenging among the shops of younger
    Birds feathered-fit for triumphalist high-fives
    Impatient of scarecrow’s creaking shoes, masked
    Grimace reaching for a tin on a grocer’s shelf.
    These opening lines really resonate..JIM

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  5. fireblossom32

    Oh gosh, Dora. I could o relate to this. That opening line was awesome, playing on the book/movie title. And the younger birds, younger all the time, it seems, and full of an unfocused energy I don’t have on my best day, at least not physically.

    Then your poem considers things and people who have come and gone, and the feeling of saudade that’s left in their wake. It’s heart-piercing, familiar, dear too. And finally your scarecrow, shining through as they used to say. Lovely, sad, beautiful stuff, my friend.

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  6. I read this and hear the Scripture, “blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The trappings of consumer might wear terribly thin these days – especially with shelves so bare — the crumbs from the children’s table are all the poetry needs. I’m glad you noted meanings for the obscure words, much more helpful to the reader than making work of inserting them and making the surrounding text do the heavy lifting. (Not your fault at all, but the challenge really doesn’t work for poetry.)

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  7. You capture the mood of the challenge words perfectly, and the feeling and mood reflect the ones they embody, which the larger world also seems to embody these days. I especially like the ending.which finds light and love in darkness, the triumph of meaning and the heart over the war that isolation and disaster are waging.

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  8. writingwhatnots

    Wonderful poem Dora. Your words do fall like manna – giving sustenance to the reader. And the words from Linda’s selection fit so perfectly, adding their own poetry.

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  9. Your depiction of the creaking of joints and the way everything seems so difficult is heartfelt. I agree with Brendan that the sentiments would have been better served by words we all know. The prompt words create a distance of intentional obscurity which I think lessens the impact of your ‘real’ words.

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